The City of Sandy Springs is developing a plan for a municipal complex that would house several government offices, but the city has entertained another option for its future police headquarters, one that involves a high-profile piece of real estate.
Reporter Newspapers has learned that last year the city considered purchasing the Tom Jumper Chevrolet property at 7200 Roswell Road for its police department. According to city spokeswoman Sharon Kraun, the city did not make any formal offers.
“There have been general conversations,” Kraun said. “The city has never taken any action on any of this.”
Brad Jackson, whose family owns both the Sandy Springs Toyota and Sandy Springs Ford dealerships, recently confirmed his family owns the Tom Jumper property and is looking to sell it. The 11.38-acre parcel is listed at $7.15 million. Jackson said the family bought the property about one year ago, but isn’t interested in turning it into another dealership.
“It’s a fabulous piece of real estate,” Jackson said. “… It’s had a lot of interest.”
The Tom Jumper dealership closed in fall 2008 when its owner, Heard Enterprises, filed for bankruptcy. Kraun said the discussions took place before the city’s police department moved to its current site at the Morgan Falls Office Park in June 2011.
Kevin Markwordt, a managing director with Transwestern who is a broker for the Tom Jumper site, said the city was interested in the property “for several uses.” He said he hasn’t heard from the city in eight months.
“My understanding is that the City of Sandy Springs has no interest in our property presently,” Markwordt said. “It is a great site but it will most likely be sold before the city is ready for expansion in this area.”
Some property and business owners around the city owned former Target site at 235 Johnson Ferry Road say they do not want to sell their businesses to the city for a future municipal complex. Mayor Eva Galambos, who has championed development around the site, said its location in the triangle formed by Johnson Ferry Road, Mt. Vernon Highway and Roswell Road make it the ideal choice for a future city hall.
Will Smith, co-owner of Master Kleen drycleaners adjacent to the old Target, said everything about the Tom Jumper site makes it a better choice for the municipal complex.
“It’s vacant except for one building,” Smith said. “It’s plenty big enough. … It’s away from the major downtown traffic area. The price is a lot less than what they’d be paying for this (block.) There’d be less teardown, fewer environmental issues and it’s a level site, just like this one.”
Jackson said he thinks his family’s property would make a great City Hall site, too. He said he is surprised the city isn’t considering it, and said it would be easier to deal with one willing seller than several unwilling ones around the Target property.
He also thinks his parcel is just better.
“It’s like beachfront property,” Jackson said. “Target is like second pier, I guess, a few rows back from the beach.”